AT&T customers may soon be getting a stronger cell phone signal in the Helena-West Helena area.
Working with the Helena-West Helena Planning Commission, AT&T is seeking approval to place a permanent tower on the northwest corner of the property owned by the Boys & Girls Club of Phillips County.
In the meantime, the company is hoping to obtain authorization from the planning commission and the city council to place a temporary 60-foot tower on wheels at this same location in order to improve the service to AT&T customers in the area until the permanent tower can be erected, if approved.
“We are getting a lot of customer complaints in the Helena-West Helena area,” stated Leigh Ann Fagler of AT&T mobility services.
“There are a lot of dead spots, particularly in the area between the Helena Bridge and Helena Regional Medical Center,” reported city council member Larry Brown. “There are a lot of times when I get in that area I tell whoever I have on the phone to wait and I will call them when I get passed the hospital.”
The council gave AT&T the green light for a temporary permit for a temporary tower. The motion also included approval for the permanent tower subject to the planning commission's Okaying the project.
The planning commission will conduct a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the city hall on Perry Street for the purpose of receiving comments and or questions regarding the installation of a permanent cellular tower.
A resolution regarding the awarding of a bid for an $112,000 roofing project of the Malco Theater was tabled for further review. The funding for the project will come from a US Department of Agriculture grant. No city funds are involved in the project. However, since the city owns the building, the city must approve the bid.
Cathy Cunningham said she had some concerns about the project being delayed.
“The funds were supposed to have been spent on this project by July of last year but an extension was obtained,” she said.
It was implied that funding could be lost if the project was delayed much longer. KIPP Delta Schools is one of the primary users of the Malco facility.
City council member John Huff requested the matter be placed on the agenda of the Oct. 22 council meeting. He stated that he wanted more time to review the information provided.
The council approved a request by Gracie Gonner of The Family Life Center to apply for a grant for the restoration of a building on Walnut Street for a Helena Resource Day Center. The center would be part of the Family Life Center and would be used to help feed needy citizens, offer portable services to the homeless and provide evening meals for children after school hours.
Page 2 of 2 - The grant application process required Gonner to make the presentation to the city council. No city funds are involved.
Huff also moved to table Gonner's request until the Oct. 22 meeting.
“No disrespect to you Ms. Gonner,” said Huff, “but we were just handed this information a few minutes ago and it is several pages long.”
City council member Jay Hollowell noted that Gonner faced a mid-October deadline; so the council went ahead and approved the request.
Despite the council having met just the previous week, there were several items on the agenda. At least three other agenda items – deferred payments for employees, a departmental overtime review and a prioritized list of city streets in need of repairs – were put off until the Oct. 22 session.